COVINGTON, Ind. – A van struck bicyclists riding to raise money for families of officers who died while on duty, killing a state trooper and a retired police chief and injuring another cyclist, police said.
The van, which was providing support to the bicyclists and was marked with a large banner that read "Caution Cyclists Ahead," spun into the group after being hit by a box truck on Indiana 63 near the Indiana-Illinois state line, police said.
Those killed were state police Lt. Gary Dudley and Gary Martin, who had retired in April as chief of the Lake County Sheriff's Department, authorities said. The injured cyclist, retired Indianapolis police Officer Spencer Moore, was airlifted to an Illinois hospital and was listed in fair condition Tuesday night.
The group of 10 current and retired police officers and another man were pedaling south on the four-lane highway in a rural area near Interstate 74 about 50 miles north of Terre Haute, police said. Southbound lanes were closed Tuesday afternoon. Debris and a crumbled red bicycle were in the roadway, along with water bottles, a helmet, shoes and other bikes.
The drivers of the box truck, Gary Adams, of Owensboro, Ky., and the support van, Rocky Bumpas, of Mooresville, were treated and released at a nearby hospital.
State police Sgt. Joe Watts said it could take several weeks for investigators to complete their review of the crash and submit a report to the Vermillion County prosecutor's office for a decision on whether any charges would be filed.
About 30 bicyclists from several police agencies planned to ride portions of 1,100 miles over 13 days, while eight were planning to trek the entire route.
"It's a feeling of tragedy and a feeling of loss. It strikes all of us deeply," Watts said, in response to a question about the irony that these were officers raising money for officers who died in the line of duty.
Martin, 63, was an avid cyclist who had retired from the Gary Police Department and was teaching at Indiana University Northwest when he was named to the No. 2 position in the Lake County Sheriff's Department in 2002, the department said.
Dudley, who was believed to be 52, was commander of the state police recruit academy and was involved in helping the families of fallen officers, state police 1st Sgt. Dave Bursten said.
"Anything he could do to help, he would do," said Bursten, who was a close friend of Dudley. "He has helped direct emotional support and assistance for the families of deceased officers."
The Indiana Troopers Association had hosted the riders during part of their trip last week.
"They were all very upbeat when they were here Friday night," said Karen Shelton, the group's director of operations. "They do this on their own time which I think is admirable."
The cyclists were supposed to ride 102 miles Tuesday and had gone about halfway when they stopped for lunch. They were a couple miles back into the ride when the crash happened, said Watts, who knew some of the cyclists, which included a man who lost a grandfather in the line of duty.
Those participating included officers from state police, Lake County sheriff, Merrillville, Bloomington, Fishers and Indianapolis police departments. The ride began Aug. 16 and was to end Aug. 28 in Indianapolis at Crown Hill Cemetery's "Heroes of Public Safety."
The ride was called off for Wednesday and it was uncertain whether it would resume as state police Sgt. Brian Olehy said the bicyclists were heading back to their homes after a debriefing Tuesday night at a Terre Haute hotel.
Bursten said the riders would receive counseling as needed.
Money raised supports Indiana Concerns of Police Survivors, which provides support for families of officers killed in the line of duty and helps send them to Washington, D.C., for annual memorial services.